A compelling investigation into one of our most coveted ideals through the lens of modern brain science.
In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall traces the path of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in the fifth century B. C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. We learn how wisdom became the provenance of philosophy and religion; how it is a catalyst for social change; and how psychologists and neuroscientists have begun to shed light on the cognitive traits long associated with wisdom, to see how we might cultivate it.
Hall explores the neural mechanisms for wise decision making; the conflict between the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain; the development of compassion, humility, and empathy; the effect of adversity and the impact of early-life stress on the development of wisdom; and how we can improve our future choices and future selves.
Hall's riveting exploration of the science of wisdom allows us to see this ancient virtue with fresh eyes, yet also makes clear that despite modern science's most powerful efforts, wisdom continues to elude easy understanding.
'Stephen Hall is not just a terrific science writer, he's a terrific writer, period.' Michael Pollan